Patriarch of Jerusalem calls for prayer and fasting

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Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa sets next Tuesday for day of prayer, abstinence, and fasting for peace in the Holy Land.

The newly created cardinal who is also the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is calling on Christians to pray and fast for peace in the Holy Land.

Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa has asked that on Tuesday, October 17, “everyone hold a day of fasting, abstinence, and prayer.”

The cardinal, who just returned to Jerusalem after spending some time in Italy, issued a letter Wednesday on behalf of himself and other bishops of the Holy Land, in response to the escalating war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic political organization that runs the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Israel’s military has retaken areas that were affected by the incursion in the southwest of the country and has secured the border. It has targeted what it says are Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip and is preparing to launch a ground invasion of the territory, where some 2 million people live. The Israeli government has begun a siege of Gaza, cutting off water, electricity and other vital supplies.

“The pain and dismay at what is happening is great. Once again we find ourselves in the midst of a political and military crisis,” Cardinal Pizzaballa wrote. “We have suddenly been catapulted into a sea of unprecedented violence. The hatred, which we have unfortunately already been experiencing for too long, will increase even more, and the ensuing spiral of violence will create more destruction. Everything seems to speak of death.”

But, the patriarch said, in order not to “remain helpless,” it is important to pray, “to turn our hearts to God the Father.”

“Only in this way we can draw the strength and serenity needed to endure these hard times, by turning to Him, in prayer and intercession, to implore and cry out to God amidst this anguish,” Cardinal Pizzaballa said.

As president of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, he issued an invitation to “all parishes and religious communities to a day of fasting and prayer for peace and reconciliation.”

“We ask that on Tuesday, October 17, everyone hold a day of fasting, abstinence, and prayer,” he wrote. “Let us organize prayer times with Eucharistic Adoration and with the recitation of the Rosary to Our Blessed Virgin Mary. Although most probably in many parts of our dioceses circumstances will not permit large gatherings, it is possible to organize simple and sober common moments of prayer in parishes, religious communities, and families.”

The patriarch said that this is the way “we all come together despite everything, and unite collectively in prayer, to deliver to God the Father our thirst for peace, justice, and reconciliation.”

This content was originally published here.

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